For the second time since the COVID-19 virus halted the NBA, and the global pandemic paused much of the world, the Bulls introduced a significant executive hire remotely.
Given that both Arturas Karnisovas, introduced last month as executive vice president of basketball operations, and Marc Eversley, introduced Friday as general manager, thrive on their relationship skills, the situation adds a layer of difficulty to their already significant challenge of restoring the Bulls.
Yes, both executives have talked to players on the phone or by video teleconference. But until they meet them face-to-face and get in the gym with them, they don’t fully know what they have.
That didn’t stop Eversley from offering his thoughts on the roster during a video interview with NBC Sports Chicago. He also emphasized that all teams are going through the same situation and refused to view the current hiatus as a detriment to working, albeit differently.
“It’s a really, really young roster. There are a couple players who regressed a little bit last year. I’ll certainly want to learn more about that,” Eversley told NBC Sports Chicago. “Coby White, I thought he had a really nice rookie year. Wendell Carter, I think, is a really nice piece and somebody we can look to grow with in the future. Lauri (Markkanen) is a modern-day stretch four (power forward). I think he’s got a great stroke. He’s got a wonderful shooting touch. He regressed a little bit last year. I’d love to learn more about that.
“I think it’s a nice roster. I think there are definitely some pieces who we can move forward with as we grow this program.”
Since he was focused on his job with the 76ers, Eversley said he didn’t study the Bulls that closely until he prepared for his job interview. But he knew enough to say they weren’t a good rebounding or shooting team.
Twice, Eversley cited the Bulls rating as the league’s second-youngest team that won just 22 games. That’s why player development is so critical.
Like Karnisovas, he has worked for franchises — in Eversley’s case, the Raptors, Wizards and 76ers — who have drawn high marks in that critical department.
“To me, this is a great opportunity to implement some plans, implement a strong player development program. There’s talent on this team. There’s no question about it. I think it’s now on us in the front office and the coaches to figure out plans for each player,” Eversley said. “It’s going to be on us to hire player development coaches and build a program. We need to look at our athlete care department and make sure we have the right people in place and everyone is thinking players first. We have to make sure they’re training the right way, rehabbing the right way, prehabbing the right way, taking in the proper foods. Those are all things that a strong player development program is all about."